Skip to main content
10:00 pm
what are these things anyway? he says they're these little falcons. he goes they watch over the dead, jimmy, he goes they do. >> what if someone asked you to risk your life? >> what if i get shanked, what if i get killed. >> to go undercover into one of the country's most dangerous prisons. >> once they stepped out the door, i was on my own. >> to help catch a killer. >> she had such a zest for life. >> young girls were being murdered. >> i can't imagine sending my daughter off to school and never seeing her again. >> and investigators needed help to get a confession. >> you wanted to plant a snitch?
10:01 pm
>> yeah, exactly. >> but this snitch was different. he was already a convicted hood. >> if anybody could pull it off, he would probably be the one to pull it off. >> if it worked, he could win his freedom. if it didn't, he could lose his life. >> they had your back. >> they had my back. >> least you thought. >> that's what i thought. >> the inside man. welcome to "dateline," i'm lester holt. why would anyone volunteer to spend months behind the bars of a federal prison for the criminally insane? what if it was a convict's one chance of escaping a ten year sentence and walking out of prison a free man? but before he would be sprung, he had a job to do in that special and especially dangerous prison. getting in was the easy part. getting out alive was much
10:02 pm
harder. two enemies who didn't trust each other faced off across a table. one of them in handcuffs was a clever con named jimmy keene. the other, a hard charging prosecutor. >> in court he called me the john got ee of kankakee. >> the prisoner was worried sick. the prosecutor that convicted keene and put him behind bars suddenly wanted to talk, a top secret meeting, no less. what more could he do to jimmy? >> he was the last person i expected to hear from. he was my biggest fear. >> but keene's fears went off the chart when the prosecutor, larry beaumont, slid an accordion file his direction. on top was a grisly photo of a dead girl. >> flip the next page, another young dead mutilated girl. i am thinking whoa, wait a second. >> he is probably thinking at this point you're about to charge him with something else. >> yeah, because you know, i had be rough on him in the initial prosecution.
10:03 pm
>> jimmy was in the dark. he had no idea the crazy scheme beaumont had in mind. >> he says jimmy, listen, he says this is something that we have another person on, he has killed many, many young women, and i personally think you're the one that can help us with this. >> this turned out to be an investigation to try and catch a suspected serial killer. beaumont, an outside the box thinker, believed this convict, jimmy keene, was the one who could somehow crack the case, taking on a unique and deadly mission. >> i realized how serious it was and also realized the danger of it. >> what he couldn't know was how such a dangerous mission would change his world and the person he was forever. if this all seems fodder for a hollywood movie, brad pitt would agree. the mega star who was benjamin button, then money balls billy
10:04 pm
bean is interested in playing none other than jimmy keene. >> brad pitt likes the fact that this guy jimmy keene risked his life to try to find what he could find. >> clearly this guy is one of a kind. charismatic, con seated, courageous and complicated. from an early age, had personality, charm, cockiness that made him dream a hollywood star might one day want to play him in the movies. his first big brush with fame came on the football field. >> everybody called you the assassin. >> in football. >> that was a good thing i take it. >> yes. i was taught by my dad at a young age, if you don't hit that guy first, he is going to hit you first. >> a superstar athlete and mr. popularity in high school, jimmy seemed to have it all as a big fish in the river city of kankakee, illinois, a blue collar town south of chicago. >> i was most valuable player, i was captain of the team every
10:05 pm
year that i played. >> jimmy grew up in the shadow of his father, big jim, a giant of a man who was a cop, fireman and hero to his son. >> he is my best friend, you know, my backbone in pretty much everything i did. >> but all of keene's grand potential would be put in peril by a terrible choice he made as a teenager. he began selling drugs. he started small, pedaling bags of marijuana in this kankakee park, then expanded to cocaine. at the tender age of 17, he moved to chicago where the business and profits exploded. he was now a big fish in a bigger pond. lake michigan to be exact. he was his own in crowd, fast cars, faster women, and souped up living. >> all the hot spots, nightclubs, owners i was in tight with. i would come in and have carte blanche every place i went to. >> were you feeling invincible?
10:06 pm
>> there was a point there was invincible feeling. >> did your pop know what you were doing, did he suspect? >> he didn't suspect until much, much later. >> it would be a rude awakening for his dad and jimmy that day in 1996 when jimmy was just relaxing at one of his chicago homes. >> all of a sudden kaboom, the whole door blew off the hinges, they come flying into the house, all of the dea, fbi and locals came in single file line with automatic weapons, pointed at me freeze, get on the ground. >> he had been caught in a drug sting, spearheaded by a hard nosed federal prosecutor, larry beaumont. >> we scooped him up in an operation that i ran, we called it operation snow ploy. >> in court, beaumont showed keene no mercy. >> he was coming at you on all fours? >> oh, god, he was a bulldog. >> jimmy was convicted and slapped with a ten year sentence. >> it was a pretty stiff sentence. i knew he didn't expect ten
10:07 pm
years in that case. >> your father was in the courtroom. >> right. i knew i let him down, probably one of the biggest ways you could let somebody down. >> keene's future was bleak. he faced ten years away from his glamorous life, the fast women, the fancy cars, the big bucks. in 1998 just when all hope seemed lost, his old nemesis, beaumont, came to him with an offer of freedom, attached to that accordion file he slid across the table. in return, keene would have to agree to risk everything and become an undercover informant in one of the roughest prisons in the country, the maximum security lockup in springfield, missouri. it was a psychiatric prison with both hardcore killers and the criminally insane. >> these people all have life sentences, they're all in there and they're crazy lunes and have
10:08 pm
nothing perfect to do than hurt you or kill you just for fun. >> if he accepted beaumont's offer, keene's target would be a suspected serial killer, a mysterious man in a van. coming up, every picture tells a story. >> when i put the picture down, he flinched, raised his arm up, refused to look at the picture. >> when "the inside man" continues. i love my extrabucks rewards, and right now, they're doubling! so, when i shop -- i earn twice as much with double extrabucks rewards. that's two times the rewards! yeah, that's what double is. i know. i was agreeing with you. it's two times. act fast and sign up at for double quarterly extrabucks rewards. don't miss getting double quarterly extrabucks rewards.
10:09 pm
i love 'em! fire bad! just have to fire roast these tomatoes. this is going to give you a head start on your dinner. that seems easier [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters. five delicious cooking sauces you combine with fresh ingredients to make amazing home-cooked meals. new chocolatey delight pastry crisps from special k. two delicious crisps. for 100 calories. so you'll never have to break up with your sweet tooth again.
10:10 pm
what will you gain when you lose? ♪ [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] introducing zzzquil sleep-aid. [ snoring ] [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] it's not for colds, it's not for pain, it's just for sleep. [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] because sleep is a beautiful thing. [ birds chirping ] introducing zzzquil, the non-habit forming sleep-aid from the makers of nyquil. ♪ the non-habit forming sleep-aid from the makers of nyquil. mitt romney's position onpprove women's's dangerous. vo:mitt romney and paul ryan would get rid of planned parenthood funding.
10:11 pm
and allow employers to deny coverage for cancer screenings and birth control. we can't afford to let him take away our choices... to take away basic health care. vo: both backed proposals to outlaw abortions...even in cases of rape and incest. i don't think that women's health issues have faced a crisis like this in decades. several years before jimmy keene's arrest and conviction, his drug business was booming and his personal life as he tells it was nonstop fun and games. there are a lot of hot clubs here in the '90s. this is a place you were doing business as well? >> worked and played, yes. it was a good time. >> back then, he had no idea
10:12 pm
about the danger lurking 150 miles south and a life style away that would change his life forever. rural, tranquil illinois is where they were raising their 15-year-old daughter jessie and two other children, far removed from big city crime. >> everybody knew who everybody was, so they were more conscious of what was going on usually. you could count on somebody to get after your kids if they needed it. >> in 1993, jessie was a high school sophomore devoted to home and family. >> jessie was really very much of a home body. so one bike ride up the road and back, she was done. then she would be watching "gone with the wind." >> one monday in september, jessie went out for a bike ride. but just minutes later, her sister noticed jessie's beloved bike down on its side in the middle of the road. >> not on the side of the road,
10:13 pm
middle of the road. she would put the kick stand up, never lay it down. immediately went down there, there's the bicycle. it is like i knew something was wrong. >> deputy sheriff gary miller was dispatched to the scene. >> the more we learned about the family and the girl's background, we just didn't feel she was staying away by choice. >> the haunting image of a bike tipped over and abandoned terrified all of the investigators and of course jessie's family. >> i mean, you never lose hope for them not to come in. you still hope, but we knew she wasn't just going to walk away. >> after six weeks, jessie's parents' worst fears were realized. her body, beaten and sexually violated, was discovered in a corn field. >> it can never be easy telling a parent their child is dead. >> no, it wasn't, but at least we were able to tell them this
10:14 pm
is her, she's gone. we were able to erase all doubts. >> gary miller had a murder case to solve and it was now a federal case involving prosecutor larry beaumont as well, since jessie's body had been found across the illinois state line. for the next year, miller did lots of leg work, but to no avail. >> every day you get up, are you thinking about this case? >> oh, every day. >> what have i missed? >> exactly. i know this case shook him from the beginning. he would check all leads that would involve all girls and run them down. >> then in late 1994, miller's persistence finally paid off. a man in a van had been reported chasing two teenager girls ingei in jessie's hometown of georgetown. he traced that to larry hall from wabash, indiana, a three hour drive from georgetown. >> heartbeat picking up?
10:15 pm
>> thinking yeah, this has to be checked out. >> he learned hall was a gung ho union reenactor that liked to fight fantasy battles. he immediately drove to wabash to interview hall who wasn't saying much. miller showed him a photo of jessie roach. >> when i put the picture down, he flinched, raised his arm up, turned in his chair and refused to look at the picture. >> convinced larry hall was hiding something, miller became obsessed with making a case against him. days later, back in illinois, miller turned up a huge lead. he found witnesses who vividly remember hall from a revolutionary war re-enactment in the georgetown area the very weekend before jessie was abducted. to them, hall stood out for his bushy muttonchops side burns, but also for playing a soldier who was fighting the wrong war.
10:16 pm
>> he was wearing a civil war uniform and he had a civil war hat. >> at a revolutionary war re-enactment. >> exactly. >> armed with this new information, deputy miller returned to wabash for a second crack at hall. this time, he pressed his suspect harder, stressing that hall's fellow reenactors had seen him near georgetown. >> he came along to the point he said well, i go to so many re-enactments, i could have been there and don't remember because i go to a lot of them. >> he was giving more ground. >> right, yeah. >> miller sees the opening and kept at it. finally he said hall came clean and confessed that he abducted, sexually violated, and strangled jessie roach to death. >> how much detail did he give you about the killing of jessica roach? >> very good detail, what he actually did and what took place. >> not only at, miller says larry hall confessed to other
10:17 pm
killings, including a co-ed from indiana wesleyan university. >> he did say he was there. >> deputy miller didn't know much about trisha, he called on the local indiana police handling that case. but when marion detective jay kay and other indiana cops arrived, hall was suddenly telling a much different story. he denied confessing to any killing, including jessie's and trisha's. what's more, he claimed it was all a misunderstanding about disturbing dreams he had. >> he takes me to a location in my dreams i strangled her and left her here. we searched the woods and area and never found anything. >> the indiana cops familiar with hall were not at all surprised by his actions. some of them like jay kay thought hall might be a wannabe, a pretender that gets his kicks
10:18 pm
confessing to crimes he didn't commit. >> is it possible he's simply obsessed with these cases but not involved? >> there's no doubt in my mind he does follow these cases, that he does read and is attracted to cases all over the country, you know, so the question does come is he a wannabe? >> deputy sheriff miller and prosecutor beaumont, however, felt certain they had a real killer on their hands, a serial killer with a unique m.o. he would prey on young women and kill for real. >> the fbi were discovering girls missing at these various areas at the time larry hall would have been there. >> but the only case for which prosecutors had sufficient evidence was jessie roach's. larry hall was arrested in connection with her death, even though he denied making that confession to miller. hall went on trial in 1995.
10:19 pm
>> as a prosecutor, what's the best card you're holding? >> we had a statement, his confession, said he did it. >> beaumont called deputy sheriff miller to the stand to testify that hall had indeed admitted that he abducted and killed jessie after he spotted her with her bicycle. >> she was walking her bike at that point. >> miller testified that in his confession, hall gave him a detail that only the killer would know, that jessie was not riding her bike but walking it, a safety precaution the roaches insisted she follow on their narrow road. >> that was never in the press that she was walking her bike that day. >> right. >> when you heard that, did that give more credence to the story? >> oh, yeah, that just sealed it for me, i knew, i knew that he was the one. >> a jury unanimously agreed. it took just three hours to convict larry hall. but prosecutor beaumont believed this was just the tip of the iceberg. he felt certain hall was a serial killer and now he had to
10:20 pm
find a way to prove it. so he began investigating trisha whiteler's abduction, a case that wasn't his for a family he didn't know. >> i can't imagine sending my daughter to school and never seeing her again. >> and he came up with an outside the box scheme to get hall, which would risk the life of that charismatic convict he had just put away for dealing drugs. jimmy keene. >> what happens when i have to deal with crazy killers and stuff, what if i get shanked, what if i get killed, am i going to survive this. coming up, a get out of jail free card with a price. >> they had your back. >> they had my back. >> least that's what you thought. >> that's what i thought. >> when "dateline" continues. [ male announcer ] at walgreens, we know kids share
10:21 pm
10:22 pm
all kinds of things, especially germs. that's why you always get your flu shot. this year, walgreens will do you one better and check if there are any other immunizations you might need -- absolutely free, no appointment necessary. preparing you for years of unplanned sharing to come. at walgreens and take care clinics, we've got all kinds of ways to arm yourself for flu season, and they're all right here... at the corner of happy and healthy. and they're all right here... multi-policy discount... paperless discount... paid in full discount... [yawning] homeowner's discount... safe driver discount... unicorn discount.
10:23 pm
unicorn wearing a sombrero. olé... countless discounts -- now, that's progressive. call or click today.
10:24 pm
murder, sexual assault and murders to police officers unless in fact they probably have done it, so it was clear we felt he was responsible for the tricia reitler disappearance. >> she had such a zest for life, and she walked in the room and everybody knew she was there. >> tricia reitler, a 19-year-old psych major at indiana wesley and university was on the way to becoming a family counselor. >> her goal was to put families back together again. >> then in march, 1993, donna and gary reitler got that late night phone call every parent dreads. a cop from marion, indiana was on the line. said do you know where tricia is. in my heart i knew something was drastically wrong. >> tricia walked to an off
10:25 pm
campus super market and never returned to her dorm. now nearly 20 years later, her parents are still waiting. >> you purchase a cemetery plot. >> yeah. >> no headstone. >> not until we find her. >> and we have no answers, and somebody out there, that's what eats at me, somebody out there has that answer for us. >> tricia reitler wasn't even prosecutor beaumont's case, but he was deeply moved by her parents. >> that was always a horrible crime to me. i knew about the facts of the case, and about the family. i didn't know the family but read about them, newspaper articles, accounts of them asking for help. >> beaumont felt certain that suspected serial killer larry hall was responsible. not only did hall live 25 minutes from indiana wesleyan, he had been identified chasing two co-eds there a week after tricia went missing. so in the summer of 1995, a month after convicting hall for jessie roach's murder, beaumont
10:26 pm
was leading a search for tricia. it was in those same indiana backwoods where hall had told indiana authorities he dreamt he killed and buried tricia. >> i wanted to feel like i did everything i could to see if we could find her body. >> but after two days searching in sweltering heat and humidity, tricia's body didn't turn up. >> we couldn't find anything. doesn't mean it wasn't there. >> then beaumont decided to try something completely different. >> i came up with the idea of putting somebody in the prison cell with him to see if we could get him to tell us what he did with tricia reitler. >> you wanted to plant a snitch. >> exactly. >> they didn't think you were crazy? >> most people did think we were crazy. i was able to convince them we should do it anyway. >> enter jimmy keene, the drug dealer beaumont had just convicted and sent to a low security prison. why did he stick out in your mind? >> i knew he was kind of a con man, he was smart. i knew if anybody could pull it off, he would probably be the one to pull it off.
10:27 pm
>> he said you have been trained in martial arts and you can go into a dangerous environment many can't and protect yourself in environment like that. >> in return, beaumont offered jimmy freedom. first, jimmy would have to exact more than a confession. >> i told him unless we found the body, he would get no credit. no body, you get nothing. >> jimmy was skeptical, he was a drug dealer, not a criminal profiler. he knew this was a mission impossible. he said no. but then fate intervened. jimmy's dad suffered a stroke. weeks later, frail and sickly, he came to visit jimmy. >> my dad was in a wheelchair. this was big jim, the man that was super man to me my whole life. we cried through the window for awhile and he talked. he didn't know about the offer. nobody knew. >> jimmy realized he had a one time only opportunity to fix the mess he made for himself and get
10:28 pm
out while his dad was still alive. >> as soon as we were done with the visit, i called my lawyer, said tell beaumont i'm going to take him up on his offer. >> the mission was on. so on august 3rd, 1998, federal marshalls escorted jimmy into the psychiatric prison. >> once they stepped out the door, i was on my own. >> jimmy's cover story was that he was a convicted weapons runner whose 40 year sentence pushed him over the edge and landed him in the psych prison. a psych prison filled with killers. his one inside contact, the chief psychiatrist, couldn't protect him, nor could his outside lifeline, a female fbi agent who visited as his girlfriend to monitor his progress. >> i did have a hot line to her, too, if i got caught in a dangerous situation, i could get a hold of her. the deal was, they would have me out in 24 hours. >> they had your back. >> they had my back. >> least that's what you thought. >> that's what i thought. >> when keene's mission began,
10:29 pm
it was all about him, his shot at freedom. he had few feelings, if any, about tricia reitler or her family. all he wanted was to get in and out with tricia's location and as fast as possible. day one, breakfast in the mess hall. jimmy zeroed in on larry hall. >> i was waiting with my tray, look over, there he is, 20, 25 feet from me, sitting there all by himself. it felt like a magnet was compelling me to come to him. finally i bumped shoulders with him on purpose. >> jimmy explained he was a brand new inmate needing directions to the library. hall obliged. >> kind of slapped him on the shoulder, said thanks a lot, i appreciate that from a cool guy like you. >> after that, they occasionally talked. but the next step came when jimmy was invited to join hall's breakfast club. >> this in the prison system, that's a big thing of who you're invited to have your breakfast with. >> keene thought he was making progress. but then prison politics got in
10:30 pm
the way. >> i left out of the chow hall one morning and a few big muscular guys came up to me, said hey, old man wants to talk to you right now, right now he wants to talk to you. >> the old man was celebrity mafiosi, known as the godfather who used to wander new york city in his bathrobe, pretending to be nuts. >> he goes hey, boy, what's wrong with you, what's wrong with you. what are you hanging around them baby killers for? he goes you hang with us from now on. he goes you hang around those people, maybe somebody comes up, puts a knife in your back. he would be at my cell early morning, jimmy, get up, get up, we're going to play bocci. i said what about breakfast? he said we will play first. >> it was taking up his valuable time, making it hard to talk to hall. then he learned hall's favorite show was america's most wanted.
10:31 pm
so one saturday night in the tv room, jimmy would make a daring move, putting his body on the line, just to gain larry's trust. coming up, jimmy's new best friend shares a nightmare. >> it was probably the hardest thing i've done in my life to listen to this kind of stuff and not just rip him apart. >> when "the inside man" continues. applebee's 2 for $20 menu. it's an appetizer and two entrees for 20 bucks. and it just got even better with all-new southwest flavors. but only the best dishes make the cut, and the competition is ruthless. these chefs are going skillet to skillet to get their dishes on this fresh, new menu. they've sharpened their knives and set their stoves to destroy! actually we get along great. we're just cooking here. [ male announcer ] ouch! cutthroat stuff! the new southwest shrimp fettuccine and chipotle cream steak & shrimp. part of the famous 2 for $20 menu at applebee's. see you tomorrow. and see you late night for 1/2-price apps.
10:32 pm
10:33 pm
10:34 pm
10:35 pm
by fall of 1998 after several months in missouri's toughest federal prison, jimmy keene could have won a popularity contest. he charmed everyone just as beaumont knew he would. he even won over some convicts with his lending library of pornographic magazines. and he managed to play indicate
10:36 pm
the chin and mob faction by day while circling his prey, hall with one on one bull sessions at night. >> talked about normal things, hung out. made him feel like i was wanting to be his friend. >> but it wasn't fast enough for keene who feared someone might recognize him and blow his cover. >> if you went by the fbi's technical terms, i was pretty much staying on pace. but from my point of view of being in this place, it was starting to get very hard. >> on the outside, the mission mastermind, larry beaumont, could only sit and wait for secondhand news on how this crazy scheme of his was going. >> were you pacing the floors waiting for updates during this? >> i don't know if i paced the floors, but i was eager to get updates. i had information they were starting to trust him, they were talking, that kind of thing. >> but beaumont had absolutely no idea a breakthrough moment arrived. it was a saturday night.
10:37 pm
keene and hall were in the prison's tv room, watching "america's most wanted" again. >> here comes a big prisoner, big muscular, buff guy. he walked to the tv, turned the channel. hall looks at me, quietly mumbles under his breath, hey, that's not right, i was watching that. i thought this is a prime opportunity for me. >> jimmy, a martial arts expert who continued working out in prison was ready for this moment. he got up and changed the channel back. >> he jumped up, slobbering all over. you turn that channel again i'll rip your hand off, you don't touch that tv, going on all crazy and stuff. turns the channel, sits back down. i just looked at him, i turned the channel again. he jumped up, starts cussing at me. i finally threw a particular cuss word at him that i knew would set him off. as soon as i did, he took a wild hey maker swing as me, i kicked him through two or three rows of
10:38 pm
chairs and beat him to a pulp. >> hall had a ring side-view of that event. after ward, he staunchedly defended him as retal atore, not instigator. >> i became his new best friend and hero. >> jimmy could sense his heroics brought him closer to hall. he was ready to make a bold move. in the prison library, jimmy figured out a strategy to draw hall out on tricia reitler. >> i noticed he was reading his hometown newspaper. and that was really important eventually for me to crack into his psyche. >> even though the goal was tricia's body, jimmy decided to ask first about something already public knowledge. hall's conviction in the jessie roach case. jimmy fibbed his mother lived near wabash and read about jessie's case and other stories involving hall. >> she gets that newspaper from
10:39 pm
that hometown where you're from. i said all the newspaper stories say you killed multiple women. >> that was a big risk though. >> it all was a big risk. i said larry, i don't care what you're in here for, be honest to me, that's all. tell me what happened. i'm still going to be your friend no matter what. i said i had girls do me wrong in my life, i understand how girls can get under your skin and be bothersome to you. >> jimmy pressed hall about roach. atlas, hall began to open up recalling that september day in 1993. >> he was driving a back country road, seen her walking her bicycle. >> hall then told jimmy exactly how he abducted and killed jessie. >> you must have been revolted. >> oh, god, lester, it was probably the hardest thing i've had to do in my life, sit there, pretend to be his friend, to listen to this kind of stuff, and not just rip him apart. but i knew what the mission involved, i knew what was at stake for me, i knew what was at
10:40 pm
stake for the people's families, still trying to find their daughters. >> a major transformation was taking place. jimmy was starting to care about more than just himself. and now he was determined to squeeze the most crucial confession out of larry hall and not just for himself, but for the family of tricia reitler. >> i started thinking i don't know where this is still going to lead, how long this is going to take, but something is now happening. >> coming up. a disturbing discovery. has jimmy keene solved the mystery of the missing girls? >> i go what are these things anyways. >> he said they watch over the dead, jimmy, they do. >> and coming up next friday on "dateline." >> you live in fear. it changes you. >> a wife and mom ripped from her family, kidnapped by a convicted killer. >> i came out of that just really messed up.
10:41 pm
>> more than ten years until she was found alive. then came the head turning twist. was she really a hostage at all? >> their relationship was not one of kidnapper and victim but it was one of husband and wife. >> a woman held captive or a woman in love? >> sounds like a pretty heartfelt love letter. >> hear her story for the first time. >> i believed at that point i was fighting for my life. launch sequence initiated. [ male announcer ] at kfc we have one mission: [ beep ] 15 seconds and counting. serve the world's best-tasting chicken. t-minus 10... that's why our whole chicken is delivered fresh. 9...8... and prepared fresh by real cooks 7... t-5. all systems go. 4... with kfc's world famous secret recipes. preparation complete... 3... 2...1... taste for yourself why fresh is better. mission accomplished. try our new freshly hand-breaded premium breast meat original recipe bites today. premium breast meat fore!
10:42 pm
no matter what small business you are in, managing expenses seems to... get in the way. not anymore. ink, the small business card from chase introduces jot an on-the-go expense app made exclusively for ink customers. custom categorize your expenses anywhere. save time and get back to what you love. the latest innovation. only for ink customers. learn more at
10:43 pm
10:44 pm
>> i open that door, he's feeling that he can trust me enough now. >> but jimmy felt he needed to wait a bit before going for the goal line. >> how did you brooch tricia reitler? >> i had to slowly keep prodding, i didn't want him to think i was carrying on. >> he plotted the next move. days later, he thought the time was right. he tried that hometown newspaper
10:45 pm
ploy again. >> i said the newspapers say you killed this girl from the college over here. i says what happened there? >> jimmy couldn't be sure how hall would react. had he been too blunt, too direct? no. it was all clicking. according to jimmy, hall began to open up about tricia and said he drove his van right up to her that day he saw her outside school. >> he said he tried to kiss her and when he did, she started fighting very violently. he said she was a very strong girl and she fought stronger than anybody fought before. >> did he admit it? >> he said he had killed her and he knew he had done it again, these are his words, that he knew he had done it again, and he said he went way out in the woods and buried her way out in the woods. >> hall gave a general location for tricia's body, near a river in indiana. but jimmy needed more specific information. luckily, he seemed to stumble into it a few nights later when he spotted hall inside the
10:46 pm
prison woodshop, a restricted area. >> there's nobody at the door, no guards or anything. i went in there, and as i came up from behind him, he had all these little different statues lined up, 10, 15 of them maybe. i couldn't tell what they were at first. as i got closer, i noticed he had a big map laid out. he drove on the map, folded it fast, slid it to the side of the table. i go what are these things anyway? he said they're these little falcons, they watch over the dead, jimmy, they do. >> and they look like? >> a good size chess piece. >> jimmy had a strong feeling his wood carved falcons and map were journal keeping by a serial killer. >> that map had little red dots over it of illinois, indiana, wisconsin. you would look down at this map, you could see all the little spots are burial spots where he's got somebody. >> all those months of dangerous, painstaking work paid off.
10:47 pm
jimmy had cracked the case. mission accomplished. >> once you see the map, the falcons, you want to tell the fbi about it, right? >> i did. i went to the hotline i had for the fbi girl. i called. i got some type of voice recording, it was after hours. >> so jimmy left a message for his fbi contact to come get him, the map and the falcons. his freedom and the answers to tricia's parents' prayers were now just hours away. >> i was elated. i felt i wrapped this up. >> you're expecting troops to come marching in. >> expecting troops to come marching in. didn't quite work that way. >> what he couldn't know was his fbi contact didn't get his voice mail, and his one inside contact, the chief psychiatrist, was on vacation. >> then you got full of yourself, didn't you. >> i did. i went back to my cell, was happy. 24 hours they said they would have me out of here, i got what they need, this was it.
10:48 pm
i went across to his cell there. >> impulsively, jimmy decided he couldn't leave prison without giving his fake friend a piece of his mind. >> the repulsiveness i felt through the whole time i had to stay being his friend, the disdain and dislike i had for him, i thought it was good for me to unload on him, tell him what i thought of him and who he really was. i said i'm going home tomorrow, larry. i said you're a crazy killer. i started calling him everything you could think of. >> with that, jimmy returned to his cell and waited to be released. >> you're going home the next day, you think, and things take another turn. >> about 5:30 in the morning, hear some little lady in a white doctor smock come walking in. >> it was hall's psychologist, and she was furious jimmy blasted her patient, turning him into an emotional wreck. >> she told the guards, grab him, throw him in the hole. they put me in the hole, keep me
10:49 pm
in there. i am not worried. thinking so what. fbi will be here, they told me 24 hours, they'll have me out of here. >> morning turned into afternoon turned into evening. the cavalry hadn't arrived. this was hard time at its hardest. >> you can't see if it is day or night because you're in the hole. you can tell what time of day it is by the meal. >> breakfast lunch dinner. then breakfast, lunch, i am thinking where are these guys. my thoughts were they did me wrong. they got what they needed, got the info, pulled the rug out from under me. >> while jimmy was wondering where they were, beaumont was looking for him, too. >> we were like where could he be? he is in prison for god's sakes. >> they lost you. >> they lost me. >> but had they also lost their best chance at finding the body of tricia reitler? i'm done!
10:50 pm
"are you a cool mom?" i'm gonna find out. [ female announcer ] swiffer wetjet's pads are better than ever. now they have the scrubbing power of mr. clean magic eraser so you don't have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub away tough, dried-on stains. hey, do you guys think i'm "momtacular" or "momtrocious"? ♪ [ female announcer ] swiffer. now with the scrubbing power of mr. clean magic eraser. nothing complicated about a pair of 10 inch hose clamp pliers. you know what's complicated? shipping. shipping's complicated. not really. with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service shipping's easy. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that's not complicated. no. come on.
10:51 pm
how about... a handshake. alright. priority mail flat rate boxes. starting at just $5.15. only from the postal service. new chocolatey delight pastry crisps from special k. two delicious crisps. for 100 calories. so you'll never have to break up with your sweet tooth again. what will you gain when you lose?
10:52 pm
i love my extrabucks rewards, and right now, they're doubling! so, when i shop -- i earn twice as much with double extrabucks rewards. that's two times the rewards! yeah, that's what double is. i know. i was agreeing with you. it's two times. act fast and sign up at for double quarterly extrabucks rewards. don't miss getting double quarterly extrabucks rewards. i love 'em!
10:53 pm
larry beaumont successfully snuck informant jimmy keene into springfield prison in 1998. he just didn't expect to lose him there. >> goes off your radar. >> yeah, disappeared. couple weeks we didn't know what happened to him, trying to find out, we were getting frantic. >> two weeks later, only after keene's psychiatrist returned from vacation did they finally find jimmy. >> i knew the fbi was there, and she kept apologizing, kept saying i am really sorry, something happened with the
10:54 pm
message. >> at last, investigators got to search the woodshop and hall's cell, but by then, the map and falcons, items jimmy believed could lead to tricia, were gone. >> what were you thinking telling larry hall you're out of here and dressing him down? >> people wouldn't understand the mounting pressure, that kettle is ready to boil over at any time, you know, and it felt good to unload on the guy. >> the problem as i see it, you've unloaded on him, he knows you're against him, but nobody has that map. >> right. i am disappointed i didn't wait another day or two at least. i should have waited a few more days. i wish i could have done more for them, but i did all i could do. i feel in my being i did all i could do. >> meantime, the people that would benefit the most from a successful mission, tricia's parents, only learned about the secret operation ten years later in 2008 when the story came out in a playboy magazine article. the reitlers are thankful for
10:55 pm
jimmy's courage and corroborating details he said he got from hall, but they're furious he blew his cover before finding their daughter. >> why would you have been so close. >> yeah. >> and then give it up like you did. >> i try not to dwell on that at all because it eats at me and it's very hard to deal with that he was that close. >> jessie roach's parents find small consolation in that jessie was the victim that tripped up hall. >> if something good could possibly come out of losing jessie, it's the fact that he is in prison and he will never get released. >> hall, 49, remains in federal prison with no possibility of parole. in recent years, he actually has made more murder confessions to reporters and investigators. >> i sincerely believe that there are young girls out there
10:56 pm
somewhere who are alive today because larry hall is in prison. >> do you think he killed before? >> i think he killed before and i think he would kill again. >> jimmy did tell beaumont that hall had killed again, but there was no documentation. it was just jimmy's word. so to be sure, the prosecutor made him take a lie detector test and jimmy passed with flying colors. >> he was telling us the truth, so bottom line is we had further information that larry was responsible for tricia. >> a grateful beaumont decided to reward him with full credit for his brave undercover work, releasing him from prison, and scrubbing his criminal record clean. >> from his perspective, he expected to get nothing. from our perspective, of course, he spent time in the looney bin with this guy, going through this whole process. >> for 15 years, jimmy had been the only one to see those falcons that hall said watched over the dead. >> problem is we never got them,
10:57 pm
they disappeared, we don't know what happened to them. >> you've never seen the falcons? >> no. >> show you a picture. that's one of the falcons. >> "dateline" took pictures of a falcon when we met larry hall's twin brother. he said larry carved that falcon in the woodshop at the springfield prison, then mailed it to their mother. i showed a photo of that falcon to beaumont and jimmy. >> what's it like for you to see that after all these years? >> it's definitely bizarre, but it's also reassuring to me, lester, i'll tell you why. now these falcons backs everything i said. that's exactly what it looked like. >> after becoming a free man in 1999, jimmy got to spend five more years with a father he idolized before big jim passed away. and he's kept his nose clean, not wasting his incredible opportunity. >> he sees the hall experience as something that gave him a second chance at life.
10:58 pm
>> he's done well in real estate and co-wrote a book, "in with the devil," that tells jimmy's compelling story of redemption. he says he is working on several hollywood projects, most notably, the movie version of his book, academy award winning producer of "the departed" owns film rights. and brad pitt is interested. >> i talked with brad pitt and his people, and brad pitt loves the relationship that i had with my father, he loves the fact that this happened in his own hometown. >> but jimmy is especially proud he says his book re-energized some cold case investigations, several targeting hall in indiana and wisconsin. at least one near a civil war re-enactment site. investigators dug up locations where hall spent time over the years and found articles of women's clothing and a belt modified with wooden handles,
10:59 pm
all sent out for dna testing, but cold case detectives following fresh leads still haven't developed enough evidence to bring charges. >> the walls are closing in on him. there would be no cold case files open if it wasn't for me. i did a good deed and did a lot of good things, that's where i feel the redemption comes in. i have done something good for the things i did wrong. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we will be back next friday at 10:00, 9:00 central. and i'll see you tomorrow on "today." i'm lester holt.
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 9/15/2012